Interview with Paranormal Investigator & Author David E. Harkins: Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks

This is an opportunity to go behind the scenes, get into the nitty-gritty of the many paranormal worlds and enter into the fertile imaginations of authors I love. Bring a flashlight. It’s sometimes dark in here, but so worth the trip. Remember, monsters need love too. Otherwise, how would we ever have baby monsters?

Think on THAT a while…

This weeks brings us someone special. David Harkins is the real deal: a paranormal investigator and author.

Welcome, Dave Harkins! You’ve just released “Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks.” 


What inspired Haunted Graveyards of the Ozarks? What attracted you to the genre?

I have always had a fascination with graveyards and cemeteries; more notably some of the older ones that I have had the pleasure of visiting. I find them very alluring historically and aesthetically. I moved to Missouri back in 1985 from California state and had the opportunity to visit many smaller unknown family plots as well as some of the more known cemeteries and Civil War Battlefields here in the Ozarks. During my visits to some of these burial grounds I had the opportunity to speak with many local folks who after finding out my involvement in the paranormal started to tell me of strange happenings that were allegedly occurring at some of these locations. Being thoroughly enthralled with these stories I started researching some of the persons, history and lore associated with these places. After doing so I found that many of the events that occurred surrounding these graveyards could be triggers for paranormal activity.

Is paranormal research a hobby for you, research or an occupation?

I am the founder and Director for the Ozarks Paranormal Society. (T.O.P.S) I have been actively researching and investigating the paranormal for over 30 years. At this point the paranormal has become a full time venture for me.

 Are you a first generation paranormal researcher?

No. My Grandmother who was of Cherokee decent was also very involved in the aspects of paranormal, spiritual and supernatural realms. I grew up around it and have had a strong fascination with it since childhood. I suppose it all really kicked into gear when some friends and I started up an Occult Bookstore back in 1980 in Fresno California. We would have different folks come into the shop looking for books or any information on hauntings and other paranormal activity. Most of them were just looking for some sort of help and had nowhere else to turn. Having always been fascinated by all things metaphysical and having many paranormal experiences myself, I found it natural to investigate their claims. This is where my journey into paranormal investigation began.

Tell us about a few of the local and more exotic locations you’ve visited in your paranormal research.

That’s a very hard one to answer. I have investigated all over the planet. On a local level I would say that our team was granted permission by the Department of the Interior to do an overnight investigation of the Battlefield at Wilson’s Creek near Republic, Missouri back in 2011. We were the first team ever granted such permission and to this date still are. A month later we returned to the battlefield for a second investigation which was filmed for the Travel Channel special Legends of the Ozarks.

I have also done two amazing evening investigations of Stonehenge in England back in the 1990’s.

Have you written other books on the subject? Any fiction in the works? What else are you working on? What can we expect and more importantly…WHEN!

I’m working on two more books that should be released sometime next year.  I can’t really disclose what they’re about exactly, but they do involve events that have occurred in Missouri and more notably the Ozarks.

What’s one personal paranormal experience stands out in your mind and why?

Wow! That’s a really hard question to answer. There have been so many that none truly stands out as being any more significant than the others. As long as there are folk out there that are in need of some sort of assistance in dealing with a situation that could be paranormal in nature I will be there to assist in any way possible. It has been a great journey thus far and I’m always fascinated at the twists and turns that this path presents to me. I have no clue where this road will lead me to next so I’ll just keep my head up and continue looking for the next adventure.

Let’s talk about craft. Are you a plotter or pantser? What are the first steps you take before diving into the writing of the next book?

I’m more of a planner. I start with an outline of the history that I feel I need to cover.  After I have assembled enough history, legend and local lore I like to investigate the claims made by others to give my spin on what may or may not be happening at a location.

Do you have any advice to a newbie interested in learning more about the paranormal aspects in our everyday lives?

Do not venture out on your own! Not all paranormal investigation is like what you see on the television shows. It’s not all fun and can at times be very dangerous. To get started in the field of paranormal investigation all you really need are a few basic tools of the trade such as a digital recorder to perform EVP Sessions, a camera for visual evidence and some sort and an emf meter to check for natural or unexplainable sources of varying Electromagnetic fields. Once again I stress never investigate alone and always seek permission from property owners before investigating any site. If you for any reason feel that you are in a very uncomfortable or hostile situation, have the sense to leave the area. Step back and assess what just occurred. If you are not the type to venture out on your own, get on the internet and look for a local paranormal group that is experienced and reputable and see if they have any entry level positions open that you may apply for and also check to see if they conduct any sort of training classes for the public.

Can you give us a taste of what to expect?

From the neatly tended urban necropolis to the long-forgotten family plot at the end of a winding gravel road, these “quiet cities” of the Ozarks have the power to send chills up and down the spine of the most hardened skeptic. Be it the restless Civil War soldiers of Greenbrier, the mass murderer who stalks Peace Church or the red eyes that persecute visitors to Robinson, tales of ghostly activity abound in every burial ground carved out of the ancient Ozark hills.

Where can we find you and your books online? 

Website | TOPS (The Ozarks Paranormal Society | Facebook

You can find my book at:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Walmart



Originally from Fresno California David Harkins now resides in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri. In 1980 David helped launch an Occult Bookstore in Fresno which is still in operation today. During the early years at the bookstore folks would come into the shop and share stories of their homes being haunted by things they believed to be of a paranormal nature. With a fascination with all things Occult and Paranormal David began investigating these claims of supposed paranormal activity and soon got hooked on the fact some of these claims may actually be happening. At this point his journey into the paranormal world began. Soon after moving to the Ozark Mountains of Missouri in 1985 David began investigating different locations in the Ozarks and eventually encountered others with the same interest in the paranormal.

In 2006 after meeting more folks in the area with a strong lure to the paranormal, David founded The Ozarks Paranormal Society (T.O.P.S). Since forming T.O.P.S David has been featured on Radio, Print and television. Most notably, he and his team were featured on the Travel Channel program “Legends of the Ozarks” investigating the activity at Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield near Springfield, Missouri. In 2013 the Ozarks Paranormal Society became official family members the world renowned paranormal team The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS). Over the years David has investigated many places in the United States, as well as Europe and India and continues his journey thru the paranormal world to this day.


I will be a Guest Speaker at the 3rd annual Delta Paranormal Project happening in Vicksburg, Mississippi October 3rd thru 5th. You can check out their website for more information at: